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Senator Tom Shipley and Representative Devon Wood were present for the legislative coffee presented by the chamber of commerce on Saturday February 11.
A crowd of approximately 25 people attended, and there was significant audience participation.
Both the senator and the representative began by giving a synopsis of their personal history and their accomplishments in office.
Shipley discussed his time on the Senate transportation committee, and his role in passing legislation that protects local infrastructure.
Wood talked about her time on the economic growth and technology committee in the house. She talked about her role in passing the legislation that defined ransom-ware in the Iowa code and established penalties for its use.
After the introduction and testimonials from Shipley and Wood, the room was opened up for questions. The question most often asked was about representative Wood’s approval of current school choice act.
Several former and current teachers expressed concern about the nature of the bill.
The most serious concern with the bill is that it undercuts funding for public schools and forces public school teachers, even in Ringgold County to seek employment elsewhere.
Representative Wood contended that there is insufficient research to show that this will have any impact on funding and employment in the public school system, particularly in rural communities.
Shipley did not approve of and voted against the bill, and stated so during the question and answer portion of the meeting.
The other most common question asked was about the state’s decision to pass legislation capping punitive damages awarded in malpractice lawsuits.
Both the senator and representative contended that while the punitive portion of a lawsuit could be capped, any court awards directed to actual healthcare would not be capped.
In the words of the senator, “If malpractice results in a permanent or chronic medical condition that requires long-term care say 20 years for example, and it’s determined that it will require a certain amount of funds per year to treat the condition, that amount of money will not be capped”.
After much discussion and questioning, moderator Karen Bender moved to close discussion and end the meeting.